As far back as the middle of the last century, researchers found out that you need more than just job skills for a successful career. Flexible skills are the competencies of the future that are in demand and worth developing from school age. They help you in your studies, in life, and your future career.
What are flexible skills?
We all know what hard skills are. You can learn them at universities and continuing education courses. Your level of hard skills will determine what kind of position you get and what your salary level will be. In addition, it is quite easy to develop hard skills – of course, with a responsible attitude to learning and an interest in the result.
Soft skills are being talked about more and more lately. They include various universal skills: creativity, critical thinking, stress resistance, leadership, communication, and many others. It is much more difficult to develop them if a child has no predisposition. However, the benefits of developed flexible skills can be even greater than an excellent diploma.
Unfortunately, real vocational competencies and future skills have received very little attention in education. But development in education has already begun: updated curricula allow students to spend more time on independent work and their projects. And they, in turn, perfectly develop creativity, critical thinking, and other necessary key competencies. Students understood that for some tasks it’s ok to use essay helper from Essayassistant and focus on what is more important. In the future, teachers will have to give even more assignments to develop soft skills: it is already clear to everyone that even the best specialist will not have a career without them.
Develop soft skills
Developed flexible skills can help in any profession. Communicative skills are not only about communication with clients but also about creating a healthy atmosphere in the workplace. Creative thinking is both the ability to find a way out of any situation and the search for unusual solutions to trivial problems. And thanks to critical thinking you can analyze the working environment, predict the possible outcomes of events and immediately notice the pitfalls in the planning.
Skills will help not only in work but also in learning. Finding new information, preparing interesting research projects, communicating with professors and dean’s office, establishing a network of acquaintances at the future place of practice – all this will be easier if you have taken up the development of flexible skills in time.
Top career skills of the future
The flexible skills needed for the future of work include so many skills. To achieve the greatest success, you need to develop them all. However, experts highlight 5 important key future skills that make up the necessary minimum for a successful professional:
- critical thinking: the ability to analyze and evaluate events around you;
- creativity: a non-standard approach to tasks, search for interesting solutions and a fresh view of the world;
- systems thinking: understanding of the links between objects and phenomena;
- cooperation: the ability to work in a team, a delegation of duties, and interest in a common cause;
- communication: the ability to interact with people, express an opinion, and quickly find answers to questions.
Future skills: what you need to know about their development
Many people mistakenly believe that character trait are established in early childhood. And if a child at 8-10 years old does not incline to analyze what’s going on and to communicate with people, then you can’t develop them. But this is wrong: there are many ways to help the knowledge, skills, and abilities of future professionals in the form of a game.
To develop creativity, there are some simple exercises that you can do even on your way to university:
- try to think of as many ways as possible to use some everyday object unusually;
- take a simple figure of a few lines or circles, draw it to a more complex shape, and then explain what it is that you pictured;
- play quest games, including computer or board games.
Develop critical thinking as you analyze a situation:
- start keeping an emotion diary and write down which incident led to which outcome;
- every evening analyze what happened to you during the day. Try to guess what would have happened if you had done something differently;
- after an important training day (e.g. a seminar) think about what helped you pass it, what methods of preparation were the most useful, and why.
Systems thinking will develop as you master creativity and critical thinking. You can even combine exercises to enhance the effect. For example, first, come up with ways to use a common object and then critically examine each idea.
Cooperation and communication cannot be developed alone. The best ways are brainstorming, debating, and discussing problems (e.g., club discussions). A great option is to participate in any volunteer movement. This way you can improve your communication skills and get experience working on a common cause. Now you know what skills are important for future career development. By the way, according to employers, soft skills are even more important for a job seeker than qualifications. After all, an interested, capable newcomer with out-of-the-box thinking can easily be taught the intricacies of the profession. And do not forget that these qualities will help not only in studies and work but also in hobbies, self-realization, and daily routine.